“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)
Back when I was in college, I went to a revival in Toronto that was about intercession. At the time, I really didn’t understand what intercession is, even though I had been raised in the church and been confirmed. Yes, it was a charismatic revival, but more than anything, I learned what it means to really PRAY. Several people there told me that I have a heart for intercession, and while I was just seeing the tip of the iceberg, I took their encouragement to heart. It wasn’t long before I acknowledged that I do have an intercessor’s heart, and that I have always been interceding for myself and countless others. All that intercession really is, is being open to constant prayer, not just for oneself, but on behalf of many—perhaps a specific group like Creekside, or maybe even for a city, state, or nation.
Learning about intercession taught me to seek God’s will before asking for mine. During times of trouble in my life, I’ve managed to slow down and ask God what his will is for me, rather than just telling him what I want. One of the best examples of that was during our years of infertility. We kept asking the Lord to give us a child (or children), or to take the desire for children away. As time progressed, we continued to ask, but my prayer changed to, “How much longer do I have to wait?” We never felt that God was telling us to stop or give up. Thankfully, we didn’t have to! That’s not always the case for couples struggling with infertility, and I’ve learned to pray for them as well: Lord, if you intend for them to become parents, make it happen, and if not, please make their hearts whole and satisfied with their situation.
A couple of Sundays ago, we sang a new (to me) song where the chorus says, “When you don’t move the mountains I’m needing you to move, when you don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through, when you don’t give the answers as I cry out to you, I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You.” I know that in the past, I’ve mentioned that I find it difficult to sing worship songs anymore. This one probably hit me closest to home, yet furthest from how I’ve felt for 5+ years. I honestly like the song, but the perspective seems a little off for me, especially concerning infertility. From my perspective, I find the needs in the chorus to be selfish. Who am I to need God to move my mountains? What if God is trying to get me over it, or around it, or teaching me how to tunnel through it? What if God isn’t parting the waters because he’s trying to teach me to walk or swim across? And why would I ever assume that God isn’t answering me?! He answers all of our prayers, all the time! It’s just that we don’t always like the answer (it could be NO), or that we’re not paying attention. BUT. I. WILL. TRUST. I will trust. The raw honesty of how the chorus wraps up says it all: TRUST.
Intercession—prayer in general—isn’t about you or me. It’s about God. It’s always about seeking God and his will, putting his plans before our own. God always answers us. His three favorite answers are, “yes, no, and wait,” in no particular order. We can selfishly assume that we know what’s best for ourselves, but the truth is, we don’t. God’s in charge. It’s up to us to figure out how to enjoy the ride. Are you seeking his will today, or are you telling him how to call the shots?
Nicole can be reached by email here.